Congratulations to new Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn on making his first “big” signing today at the 2012 Winter Meetings. The White Sox have agreed to terms with INF Jeff Keppinger on a three-year deal, which is reportedly worth $12 million. Considering we are in a market where Marco Scutaro gets $20 million, this is a pretty good bargain for the Palehose.
The White Sox were desperate for a third baseman, seeing as Brent Morel isn’t very good and Kevin Youkilis is out of their price range, so in comes Keppinger. Now, Keppinger isn’t going to be the .325 hitter he was last season for the Tampa Bay Rays, but he should give the White Sox about two wins at third base.
Robin Ventura will probably put Keppinger in the two-hole, hitting behind Alejandro De Aza and before Adam Dunn. Keppinger has the hitting abilities most managers love in the two-spot: i.e. bunting, moving runners along, making contact.
This isn’t a deal that’s going to make or break the White Sox in 2013, but it is a move that keeps them afloat in the AL Central picture and possible wild card. The season is basically on the shoulders of Jake Peavy and Chris Sale, because if they don’t pitch 180+ innings like they did last year, then it really doesn’t matter what the offense does.
But with a rotation that includes Sale, Peavy and a hopefully healthy John Danks, the White Sox have the pieces to be competitive. They just need some things to break their way to compete for a division championship.
Final verdict: Good value signing, fills a hole and is 23892 times better than the Scutaro deal, who is a comparable player.
Well done, Rick.